One weekend, 200 miles -- done!
Last weekend I completed the Bike MS ride in New Bern, NC. Each day, I rode the 100 mile route and I completed my first double century. My first 100 mile ride was only this May and I'm pretty pleased!
We arrived on Friday afternoon and found that my teammates had already set up a nice camping area for us. I'm not sure how many of my teammates ended up camping but 23 of the 84 riders on my team and registered to camp. We had a nice central tent and we hung out there until happy hour -- one of the advantages of being on a team sponsored by a brewery.
Saturday started out early with a 6:30 wake up call. The organizers must have thought that we would not be able to get ourselves up because they blasted us with a burst of music at 6:30. I had intended to get up about then anyway, having set the alarm on my cell phone for that time. The blast of music was a bit surprising though.
I started with a large group of Team CBC riders and we stuck together for a long time. The group skipped the first rest stop and stopped at the second one, about 25 miles into the ride. The routes split after that a few riders took the turn off for the 75-mile route. The rest of us continued past rest stop 3 to the lunch stop at mile 52. There was rest stop food, lunch food and even a band! Some of our group had fallen back and we tried to regroup at that point but had limited success.
On Saturday night after dinner, the organizers played Breaking Away for us on an outdoor screen. I hadn't seen it in a long time. I was struck by the "pre helmet" time frame! I have to admit, I did not make it to the end of the movie. I can't imagine why I was tired!
After talking to several teammates, it seemed that the plan for Sunday was to go slower -- about 18 mph -- and focus more on finishing the double century than on speed. Before we even left, the plan seemed to be coming apart. I had hoped to ride with Tim and Jon as well as Scott and Roger. Scott said he was going 75 rather than 100 and Tim was in street clothes, not spiffy spandex. Surprisingly, I found them both on the ride and both ended up riding the 100 mile route. Go Team CBC!
Our plan also called for skipping the first rest stop and refueling at mile 25 or so as we did on Saturday. Several of my teammates pulled off at the first stop (later I found out that some of them ended up riding the 30 mile route). When we stopped a quarter of the way in, I talked to Tim and asked if he was pulling my leg earlier about not riding. He said it was a last minute change of plans to join us and I told him that I was glad that he changed is mind. I talked to a few other people and was told to get the show on the road and we left.
We stopped again at mile 50 where they were lunch and homemade ice cream. I made a bee line for the ice cream, found some lunch and took care of other essentials. I turned to Jon and said, "Isn't that Tim's bike?" He said that it was. I was disconcerted because his bike wasn't with the rest of our group's stuff. We saw Tim a minute later and he said that we had left him at the rest stop! He was in the bathroom when we pulled out. Oops!
We stopped at mile 62 to pick up our double century patches and were sure to keep track of Tim this time. We planned to stop again at mile 82. Unfortunately, our group had an accident occur before then.
We were a large enough group that we were riding two abreast in a double pace line. I was at the front of the line on the left and the person leading the right side of the pace line was a Bike Marshal (B.M.) -- a rider designated as a special helper. I've ridding with him before and he's a strong rider and overall good guy. Our group approached two cyclists were on the side of the road repairing a flat. B.M. said, "You OK?" They replied that they needed a pump. B.M. hit his brakes quickly in his enthusiasm to help the rider with the flat. Roger ran into B.M.'s rear wheel and went down, landing on his shoulder and head. Roger's shoulder was separated and his helmet cracked. Tim, who I believe was directly behind Roger, avoided hitting him. It could have been much worse for the group.
Once Roger was down, I don't know that the organizers could have done any better. We were able to flag down a motorcycle almost immediately. We got Advil (courtesy of a rider in the group) and ice (from the motorcycle) right away. We got a 911 call in as well as a call to our team captain and it seemed like 5 minutes later there was an ambulance for "the body" (yes, they said The Body!) and a vehicle for the bike. Roger will be off the bike for the next 6-8 weeks.
After the accident, we went on to finish the ride. We were all pretty shaken up by the incident.
Surprisingly, I finished the second century in 4:58:14. Again, the distance was closer to 99 than 100 and again, I finished with an average speed of 19.8. I'll just have to go back next year to try for a 20+ average speed!
After the ride, I changed clothes, grabbed something to eat and we drove to Myrtle Beach. After checking into the hotel, we headed to the seafood buffet of my choice. When we got back to the hotel, I called my parents to share my news. My dad answered.
I rode 200 miles this weekend.
I followed up, 200 miles is a lot to ride in a weekend.
Yes it is, he replied.
Updates: My Bike MS Photo Album, information about Team CBC's injured reserve from the local paper.